With the summer months closing in, it is time for warm weather, baseball, picnics, and much more. It may have been a rough winter, but the bitter cold and snow is in the past (at least for now).
As a small business owner, summer presents you with the unique opportunity to connect on a more personal level with employees. It only takes one summer outing to show your workforce just how much you care about them.
This leads to an important question: which type of summer outing will you plan? If you are stuck, here are some ideas to consider:
1. Night at the ballpark. There are 30 MLB teams scattered throughout the country. If you have a professional franchise in your city, there is nothing more enjoyable than buying a group of tickets and taking to the ballpark with your entire company.
Note: even if you don't have an MLB team close by, you should be able to find a minor league or college team with a full schedule of games.
2. Picnic in the park. From local community parks to state parks, it is safe to say you can find some green space in close proximity to your office. It doesn't matter if you prepare the food yourself or bring in a catering company, you can be rest assured that this will make for an enjoyable experience.
Tip: choose a location with a pavilion, just in case Mother Nature decides to bring the rain.
3. Golf event. Some people like to golf, some people don't. For this reason, don't book this type of outing until you are sure that everybody will partake. If you get a "thumbs up" across the board, it is time to hit the links.
4. Boat cruise. If thinking outside the box is your thing, this is an idea to consider. A boat cruise appeals to most people, especially when there are activities and free food involved. To top things off, find a cruise that will take your party to a unique destination (or two).
5. Amusement park. Do you remember how much fun it was to visit an amusement park as a child? Well, those good times don't have to stop just because you are an adult with a job. Even those who don't enjoy the rides can still have the time of their life, thanks to a variety of other activities and delicious food.
No matter what type of event you are planning, there are many questions you must first answer:
What is the budget for the outing?
What are you hoping to accomplish? Reward employees? Build a better team?
Who is on the invite list? Just employees or family too?
What will you do in the event of bad weather?
How much time is required to properly plan the event?
Are you going to plan the outing during business hours or in the evening/weekend?
How many people can a venue accommodate?
Once you answer the questions above, you will have a better idea of what you are trying to accomplish and the steps you need to take to make this happen.
Pro Tip: ask others to assist you with the planning process. This will ensure that you are "in touch" with employees along the way, allowing you to make the best possible decisions. Employees talk to other employees and they might have a sense of what people are feeling that they wouldn't necessarily tell the boss. Some groups of employees like to go out together outside of work. Others wants to keep it friendly at work, but not take it beyond that context.
Once you decide that a summer outing is a good idea, it is time to start the planning process. Remember, it is never too early to get a jump-start on answering the questions above and finalizing the finer details.
The sooner you get started the more time you will have to make critical decisions and deal with any challenges that arise.
Despite the fact that there is a lot that goes into planning a summer outing for a small business, the end result is well worth the time and money. Your employees are sure to enjoy the outing, as it gives them the chance to have a good time outside of work while forming a better bond with coworkers.